Knocking on Doors Before You’re Ready: Advancing Women in Technology Leadership

CDM Media is building a community of female leaders by giving women in technology leadership a platform to share their expertise and experience. We’re hearing from women in the cybersecurity space, asking them to share stories and advice to highlight leadership and diversity in the industry.

Deidre Diamond, founder and CEO of CyberSN, joined us for a conversation about women in the security and IT industries. Below, she shares advice she’d give to young female professionals starting out in the industry and how roles and opportunities are changing for women.

Talk to me a little bit about the growing role of women in cybersecurity in cyber security leadership roles.

Great question, thank you for asking that. Well, we’re not growing; we’re not advancing quickly in leadership roles. We’re just starting to get women on boards and at the executive level, but there’s not many to choose from because we didn’t take them from middle management and invest in them and put them through all these expensive trainings that are needed to really get those seats. 

There’s a desire, but there’s a gap that we have to invest in training and leadership and management courses. The good news is that it’s coming down more regulatory than anything but as we all know, that’s how everything goes: money talks. We need to continue to invest in the women who are here today and give them the courses and training they need so that they can get those seats. 

Society still struggles with economic barriers that hurt all genders. To get into this business, it costs money. Those certifications are expensive for people who don’t come from a financial-backed system so we’ve got this financial burden. 

If you had to give advice to a young professional who wants a seat at the table within an organization, what advice would you give?

If you’re talking about somebody who already has experience and once you get into the higher roles, I think that investing in management and leadership training is so important. Things like situational leadership, Myers-Briggs, and those types of programs as well as the programs that 

You can ask your organization “What do I need to do to be able to be in that room?” Let them tell you what certifications or what degrees you’d need. It’s different for every organization, but I think first and foremost, in general women don’t ask those questions or knock on doors before they think they’re ready, whereas men traditionally knock well before they think they’re ready. It’s a bit of changing their mindset to start knocking now and ask the questions like “What do you need to see on my resume so that I can be in the executive room?” Then you work your way from there.

If you think the answer is ridiculous and not supportive, then wait, because there’s a lot of great organizations that will help you. If the answer is legitimate and they’re willing to invest, great. If they’re not willing to invest, I’d say leave too.

You’ve got to knock on that training or investment door, ask for it, demand it in a very positive way and then if you can’t get it, go somewhere that will give it to you.

Are you a female in technology leadership? To get involved with our Women in Tech series, please reach out to us on LinkedIn.

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